The United States men's national team face a huge test in World Cup qualifying on Sunday. The USMNT are visiting Canada for a match at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario. Both teams are coming off vital wins on Thursday that has put them on the brink of qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The Americans got by El Salvador, 1-0, thanks to a goal from Antonee Robinson. Canada, meanwhile, won at Honduras, 2-0, with an own goal and Jonathan David providing the advantage.
Kickoff on Sunday is set for 3:05 p.m. ET and coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. ET on Paramount+ with Kate Abdo anchoring the pre-match show alongside analysts Clint Dempsey, Oguchi Onyewu and Charlie Davies. On-site in Canada, Andres Cordero and Maurice Edu will be on the call alongside Kaylyn Kyle and Jenny Chiu, who will be on the sidelines.
This will be the fifth meeting between the two nations since 2019. Canada won the first meeting in 2019, 2-0, in the Concacaf Nations League. The U.S. won the following two before their September 2021 World Cup qualifier that ended in a 1-1 draw.
Here's our storylines, how you can watch the match and more:
How to watch and odds
Date: Sunday, Jan. 30 | Time: 3:05 p.m. ET
Location: Tim Hortons Field -- Hamilton, Canada
TV and live stream: Paramount+
Odds: Canada +185; Draw +175; USA +160 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Canada: No Alphonso Davies as he's still dealing with minor heart issues, but the rest of this Canada team is quite talented. For a side that had 2026 aspirations as World Cup co-hosts, it appears as if the Canadians are heading to Qatar 2022 barring a shocking collapse. This team may not offer much defensively, but in attack they've got established players who can give this U.S. trouble. Expect Tajon Buchanan to be the focal point down the wing to create as they look to build upon their nine-game unbeaten streak.
USMNT: After not playing at all in the win over El Salvador, the expectation is for Ricardo Pepi to start and play most of this match. The Americans really struggled at the striker position last time out with Jesus Ferreira having an off night. Meanwhile, both Weston McKennie and Sergino Dest pulled up lame against La Selecta, so all eyes will be on whether they play. If they can't go, expect Kellyn Acosta to play for McKennie and probably Reggie Cannon for Dest.
Areas of improvement
The U.S. lineup is expected to feature some significant changes for this game due to the failure to put El Salvador away in a match that shouldn't have been close. A lot will depend on who is available and fit, but here are three areas where some changes are needed against Canada:
- Pepi has to start. Ferreira seems low on confidence and Pepi is the team's reference point at the No. 9 position. Having him fresh for this game likely means he'll get the nod, but how confident will he be? Pepi actually is in the middle of a scoring drought of over three months. His last goal, for club or country, came on Oct. 7 in the USA's 2-0 win over Jamaica.
- Christian Pulisic needs to be quicker. The Chelsea man was taken off in the second half against La Selecta after what was an underwhelming display. Sure, he did manage to put in a couple dangerous balls, but his decision making near midfield was a problem for a couple of reasons. His positioning wasn't high enough and that prevented him from being in good positions when needed. Secondly, as he approached the final third, he was often hesitant in where to move the ball, failing to capitalize on El Salvador's back line looking to transition to defense.
- Yunus Musah needs to push higher up. The Valencia man brings a lot of excitement in the middle, but he also needs to get aggressive with his positioning. This is the United States -- the current kings of Concacaf -- and they need to impose their will. Musah can break lines with his passing and his dribbling but only threatened one time against El Salvador as he was sitting far too deep. Tyler Adams can cover the entire defensive midfield, so Gregg Berhalter must assign Musah a more advanced position.
- The last time the U.S. won at Canada was a 3-0 win in qualifying back in 1997.
- Since March of 1997, they've played a total of 15 times, but Canada have managed just five goals.
- Canada striker Jonathan David has become a star at French club Lille, where he plays with USA's Tim Weah. David was actually born in the United States to Haitian parents. He moved to Haiti shortly after being born before moving to Canada at the age of six.
- Canada are the only undefeated team in Concacaf at this point of qualifying with a 5-4-0 record.
Jonathan David cancels out USA's opener with a fine strike late as each team takes a point. Pick: Canada 1, USMNT 1